It’s one of those nightmare scenarios that we all dread: looking for your car keys in your pocket or bag, and finding that they aren’t there. As the search gets increasingly frantic, stress levels rise and panic starts to set in. Sound familiar? It’s something that has happened to many of us and, while keys will often turn up, what do you need to do if they don’t?
Firstly – and importantly – don’t panic. This is a common problem – about 25% of us have lost our keys – and help can soon be at hand.
If your keys are definitely lost or, worse, stolen, then you need to get them replaced quickly. Keys are the first line of defence against thieves – and if they have got into the wrong hands, it makes the thief’s job very easy. Don’t just rely on a spare key – if you have one.
The first call you should make is to an auto locksmith. There are auto locksmith services providers across the country – there are many here on the Rated Locksmiths site. Auto locksmiths are trained in all makes and models of vehicles on the UK roads so no matter what keys or locking system your car has they should be able to cut and programme a new set of keys for you.
You will need proof of ownership
However, it should be noted that you will need proof of ownership for the car, such as the vehicle identification number, which is found on your V5C document in the vehicle log book, and a form of photo ID before they will proceed – obviously they have to check that you are who you say you are!
If it’s an emergency, most auto locksmiths can be out to you within an hour, in a van fully stocked with lock cutting equipment and spare parts, such as blank keys so they can make a replacement set of car keys while you wait.
All cars, all key types
It won’t matter what type of car you have and the sort of keys that you use with it, whether it is a traditional key – generally found on pre-1995 cars – or a modern one with an electronic transponder programmed to a specific vehicle, the auto locksmith will be able to cut and programme a new key for you.
Mobile auto locksmiths carry with them specialist equipment for cutting keys and programming them. Their equipment enables them to access the security data from your car’s ECU, extract it and then programme that information into a new transponder chip on a new key.
Following this, the auto locksmith will then ensure your vehicle is completely secure by accessing the car’s memory and programming the new key’s data into it, and deleting the details of the previous keys from it – which means that they won’t work anymore.
All this can be done while you wait so that you can get back on with your day quickly.
Do you have insurance cover?
It is also worth noting that some car insurance providers offer cover for lost or stolen keys as part of an insurance policy, but not all do this as standard, so be careful to check your policy that it is there. If it isn’t, make sure it is on the next policy you have.
If you do decide to make a claim to your insurance provider after losing your keys or having them stolen, make sure it won’t affect your no-claims discount.